Flame maple coping with flame chip out

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Nick Kitchener
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Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2023 5:37 pm

Flame maple coping with flame chip out

Post by Nick Kitchener »

I'm currently building a guitar with a flame maple top that runs vertically and grain that runs horizontally. It's 20mm thick and I'm carving the top with a Rustings Danish Oil finish (multiple applications). However I'm seeing some, what could be described as 'chip out' leaving small holes specially near or after carving.
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I'm assuming this is because the flame is alternating soft and hard with the soft being susceptible to being damaged during carving/sanding to only separate later.

I had hoped that the cured Danish Oil would be enough to stabilise but it seems possibly not. The guitar is not for sale - it's mine and a DIY first guitar so the idea is any dings and dents can be fixed easily. Is there any easier way to stabilise this and still allow carving/future repairs?
Jarno Verhoeven
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2023 1:06 pm

Re: Flame maple coping with flame chip out

Post by Jarno Verhoeven »

Use sharper tools, I think. I have the same on birdseye maple, very easy to get tearout, and very hard to sand it out too, so I left it (also guitar for my own use, and pretty "experimental" too so let's first see if scale length and tuning work out).
Alan Carruth
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Re: Flame maple coping with flame chip out

Post by Alan Carruth »

The figure is caused by periodic changes in runout, so sometimes you're cutting with the grain and sometimes against it as you go along the grain. Violin makers often carve across the grain to avoid this, and finish up with scrapers and sandpaper. With birdseye that's not an option: there's no 'good' way to carve it. A tooth plane helps to limit the tear out with any sort of figure. Sharp tools and light cuts...
Nick Kitchener
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Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2023 5:37 pm

Re: Flame maple coping with flame chip out

Post by Nick Kitchener »

Jarno Verhoeven wrote: Wed Jan 31, 2024 7:06 am Use sharper tools, I think. I have the same on birdseye maple, very easy to get tearout, and very hard to sand it out too, so I left it (also guitar for my own use, and pretty "experimental" too so let's first see if scale length and tuning work out).
I’ve experienced birds eye maple with a kitchen knife I’d blacksmithed. Also the eyes differ depending how much you cut into the wood!

I’ve sharpened the gouges so next logical step is to complete the carves and keep the razor sharp. Lesson learnt.
Nick Kitchener
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Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2023 5:37 pm

Re: Flame maple coping with flame chip out

Post by Nick Kitchener »

Alan Carruth wrote: Wed Jan 31, 2024 11:04 am The figure is caused by periodic changes in runout, so sometimes you're cutting with the grain and sometimes against it as you go along the grain. Violin makers often carve across the grain to avoid this, and finish up with scrapers and sandpaper. With birdseye that's not an option: there's no 'good' way to carve it. A tooth plane helps to limit the tear out with any sort of figure. Sharp tools and light cuts...
I suppose I was being a little lazy - the plane cuts are clean and remain so (it did take me 4 hours to rebuild the blade to an acceptable point). I’d not twigged how fast the gouge was blunting.
Darrel Friesen
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Re: Flame maple coping with flame chip out

Post by Darrel Friesen »

I had to resort to a carving disc and abrasive sanding on a quilt maple archtop after having tried every weapon in my arsenal. Good luck.
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Barry Daniels
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Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: Flame maple coping with flame chip out

Post by Barry Daniels »

Wetting the surface of flame maple with water can help to avoid chipping when cutting with a bladed tool.
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Alan Carruth
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Re: Flame maple coping with flame chip out

Post by Alan Carruth »

I'll note, too, that different species of maple vary in this. Rock maple tends to give a bit of trouble, soft (European or Red) maple in general a bit more. Broadleaf maple is sometimes good, but more often it will chip, crush, or tear out, when cut along the grain. Even a razor sharp scraper can give trouble.

I once made a matched' pair of fiddles to check out a claim on differences in back graduation. The only matched pair of back sets I has was birds eye figured rock maple. All eight back corners seemed to have an eye right at the point of the purfling inlay. Golly gosh darn heck.. ;)
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